Chileans over the age of 18 will legally be allowed to change their name and sex after the Chamber of Deputies approved the movement Wednesday.
In a historic win for gender rights, 95 chamber members ruled in favor of the highly controversial bill in Valparaiso after weeks of debates. Forty-six members voted against the motion.
Per the new legislation, teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 will be able to register their sexual identities with parental consent or at least one legal representative present. Without parental representation, adolescents may appeal for judicial intervention, the ministers voted.
The bill recognizes gender as a personal conviction and guarantees the right of trans people to be addressed by public and private institutions according to their self-defined gender, regardless of surgical intervention.
"We are in the presence of a historic event, which we celebrate with great emotion and joy because it will improve the quality of life of thousands of people who have had their dignity and rights postponed only because of prejudices in relation to gender identity," said Alvaro Troncoso, head of Chile’s Movement of Homosexual Integration and Liberation (Movilh).
The bill still awaits final approval from right-wing President Sebastian Piñera, who has 30 days to make his decision.
Conservative legislators have warned they may still suspend the motion by appealing it to the Constitutional Court and suspending its implementation.
Supporters of the bill defended the recent triumph, citing the Convention on Children’s Rights and numerous cases of discrimination against transgenders in Chile.
According to LGBTI group Let's Go Chile, the bill discriminates against trans children under 14. “The majority of trans people are conscious of their identity before 10. Leaving people under 14 outside of the Gender Identity Law is cruel,” the organization tweeted before the vote.